Monthly Archives: June 2012

Uppidy Modern Human Beings

Good morning readers.  Thanks for coming by for a read this morning.

21st Century human beings, and those of us left over from the 20th tend to get fairly uppidy and smarty pants about all the people we managed to slaughter during the 20th Century.  That, and how many we’re likely to off inadvertently here pretty soon [what with the Japanese sewer plants spewing radioactivity into next week’s cat food and whatnot].  We think we were special and innovative with WWI, WWII, the Gulags, Cambodia, Viagra – er, Biafra, the German camps, the Rape of Nanking and other incidentals perpetrated by the Japanese Empire, the pre-WWII French death camps in the Carib for their felons and political problems, Mexican revolutions, Great Cultural Revolution in China.

Mostly fairly piddly stuff compared do what a lot of our ancestors pulled off.  About the time we Americans were bragging about how many people got slaughtered at Gettysburg, in China they were actually doing it up right with the Taiping rebellion.  Bloodiest civil war in the history of humanity and until WWII took the trophy for killing more people than any war of any kind.  100,000 people slaughtered in a single day in the battle of Nanking.

A government clerk named Hung got hold of a Christian Missionary tract in the 1850s,  “Good Words to Admonish the Age“, understood it and decided he was the brother of Jesus.  Set about establishing a new heaven on earth with one-hell-of-a-lot fewer people in it, none of whom didn’t believe he was the brother of Jesus.  Came damned close to succeeding, too, insofar as the Manchu Empire was concerned.

Then there was Queen Ranavalona I of Madagascar, decided she didn’t like people who didn’t belong to her own tribe, killed off two-three million of them during the 1840s.  Survivors dressed up like Europeans, did opera, ate with the right forks and spoons.  But honestly didn’t like Europeans, either.  Butchered or enslaved any of them they could catch.  On second thought, didn’t like anyone else, either.  Gave them mostly the same treatment when they could catch them.

Keep in mind there were a lot fewer people available to be offed in those days, and a million was a lot, compared to the 20th Century where it dwindled down and got piddly.

Just because you’ve got a television where you can hear about it and keep count with a computer doesn’t mean you’re any better at it than your great-granddad.  Considering the tools he had to work with, he was better at it than you.

Old Jules

Loaded With Extras

I take the view the only really necessary parts on a vehicle are:

  1. Engine and drive train,
  2. wheels of some description
  3. Steering device
  4. Throttle
  5. Someplace to sit or stand.

This car is loaded with extra parts.  For instance, notice that hood with all the paint on it and the little hump.  That hump was caused sometime when something flew off the engine and instead of heading off somewhere the driver wouldn’t have to deal with it, bounced it back into the engine compartment.

Paint is a definite useless extra, and the hood doesn’t do anything except make it more difficult to get to the engine.  Same as that windshield.  Just something else to break.  If the car didn’t have a windshield it wouldn’t need windshield wipers forever wearing out.

Look at all that expensive, useless crap they hang on those cars.  Bumper.  Mirrors, lights.  Just more stuff to go wrong or get knocked off.  Something covering the radiator.

More useless paint, little signs hung all over the place, hubcaps.  Reflectors.

All that stuff on the tires to wear out.  If they’d just wrap the hubs with electrical tap they’d never go flat.  Or make them out of solid rubber so’s a person could wear them all the way down to the axles, or at least the hubs.

Look at all this junk!  Tail lights.  Some kind of weird handle across the trunk.  More little signs.  A back window.  A tail pipe!  A dadgummed tail pipe hanging out there to catch on rocks and deadfall trees.  But most of this extra stuff will take care of itself over time just getting in and out of here. 

Luckily, the brakes are fairly spongy so’s I won’t have to trouble myself with them long.  If I need to stop planned, I’ll just shut down the engine.  Or emergencies, put it into reverse, or parking gear.  Or run it into something heavy.

Old Jules

Unplanned Protrusions

Good morning readers.  Thanks for coming by for a read this morning.

A person with his ear to the ground listening for possibilities and interference from the Coincidence Coordinators can find himself in unexpected places, which I did.  Yesterday.

Had to go into town for groceries and animal necessities, but I’d been watching that bus for about six weeks.  Thought it might be time to begin feeling around in the head of the man who owns it. 

We were sitting in the car lot office circling the issue, nobody putting a toe in the water when a Lincoln pulled up in front and a guy got out, shouting, “I put serious stuff up my nose!”  He was shouting it non-verbally, but body language communicates sufficiently sometimes.

He jitterbugged into the office – it was clear he and the owner knew one another – and pointed across the lot to an older model American somewhat small car. 

Tweaker talking a mile a minute:  I’ve got checks out I need to beat to the bank with cash.  Would you buy that car from me for $1400 cash right now?

Owner:  No.

Tweaker:  $1300?

Owner:  No.

This progress worked its way down $100 at a time to $400, the owner nodding negative.  The tweaker paused.  “No?”

Owner:  NO.  I’ve got a cash flow problem here.  When I sold you that car I’d taken it on a trade in.

Tweaker turns to me:  Would you buy it?:

Me:  No.  That ain’t my kind of car.

Tweaker:  Huh.  I guess I’d better try to sell it to someone else then.  I’ll get my stuff out of it.

Tweaker goes out to the Chevi, takes a lot of stuff out of the back seat and carries it over to the Lincoln.  Meanwhile, I’m thinking.

Me to owner:  Would it be any problem for you if I bought that car from him?

Owner:  He bought it from me.  I don’t have anything to do with it now.

So, I got to the car about the same time as the tweaker returned to it, asked him about it.  Keep in mind, he’d talked to me in the office a few minutes earlier, asked if I’d buy it for $400.

Tweaker:  Would you buy it for $1400.

Me, scowling:  No

Tweaker:  $1300?

Me:  No.  Do you remember me?  I was in there with you and him a few minutes ago.

Tweaker:  Sure.  Would you give me $1200?

Me:  No.

We worked our way back down, me assuring him I honestly wasn’t certain I was interested at any price.  So we went over it, looking at everything, listening to the engine, driving it around the parking lot.

Tweaker:  Are you going to buy it?

Me:  You only got down to $600.  We aren’t down to talking about it yet.

Tweaker:  But you haven’t made any offer.

Me:  I’ll give you $400 lock stock and barrel.  No sales tax, no nothing else.

Tweaker:  That’s just the amount I was hoping for.

Turned out the papers from him buying it hadn’t come back from DVM yet, so I sent him off to get whatever was needed to sign it over to me and he left, saying he’d be back there at 2:00 pm.  I went off to a couple of thrift shops and returned at 2:00.  He was nowhere to be seen, so I hung around chewing the fat with the car lot owner until he arrived back and we did the motions of transferring things him jittering and jotting, talking incoherently.  We had a blank form and he signed it, wrote out a bill of sale on a piece of notebook paper.  Barely readable.

The story should have ended there, me coming back here to get Gale to haul me to town to pick it up.  But the tweaker had a lot of dances and fast peter-piper-picked-a-pail-of-pickle-peppers left in him he needed to get out.  Asked me if he should give me $100 back on the car.  No idea why.

Me:  No.  We’re okay. 

Eventually I nudged him friendly out to the Lincoln so he could go take care of the bank.  Went back inside the office shaking my head, made arrangements to leave it in the lot a few hours, or until this morning so’s I could come pick it up.  We all shook our heads at one another, shrugged, shook our heads some more and I was on the road home.

Gale was ecstatic, knowing he won’t be loaning me Little Red anymore for my necessaries.

Me, I’m just tickled the Coincidence Coordinators are so much smarter than me.  When the time comes I’ve figured out I don’t need it I’m comfortable I won’t lose money on it, provided it still runs.  But even as junk I won’t lose much if it comes to that.

Old Jules

Tough realities

Good morning readers.  During a thunder storm passed over here a few nights ago I was pondering this experience most people think of as a lifetime.  Specifically, this one of mine and where it appears to be from where I’m viewing it.  Lowest common denominators, that sort of thing.

Maybe it was one of those lightning bolts came through the roof and dropped a cargo in my head.  But it came to me in a flash of uninvited insight that if a person wants to decrease the volume or surface area of a cone or cylinder in any significant way, it’s the radius, not the height he’s going to have to change.

My first thought was it’s a lousy piece of news, but it isn’t news.  It’s been there all along.  I just didn’t happen to focus my attention on it.  Can’t possibly be lousy news if it was there all the time.

Old Jules

Keeping the Sacrifices Hidden – Straw Men, Trojan Horses and Pick-Pockets

Good morning readers.  Thanks for coming by for a read this morning.

I’ve been pondering this strange dearth of political bumper-stickers, which seems to me to be unprecedented for a year of national elections.  Particularly contests over who’s to be king.  Maybe it’s just the fact it doesn’t matter anymore.  The scrapings of US production so far gone what’s left isn’t worth stealing. 

But maybe there’s another factor at work.

One of the big let-downs of the post WWII era for kings, king-makers, wannabe kings and king-makers, war profiteers, and economic shell-game artists, was the citizenry.  They were stupid, but not as stupid as they needed to be to satisfy the hopes and expectations of those who needed their [preferably active, but at leat tacit] consent to be gang raped.

By the end of the Vietnam War it became obvious that, aside from a few mindless flag-wavers and a re-definition of the word ‘patriot’, most of the citizenry wouldn’t support long-duration undeclared wars, for instance.  Even when the body-bags only contained volunteers.  Even when the sacrifices were disguised in exponential growth of national debt.

Frustrating, tricky business.  Constantly having to dream up Wars on Poverty, Wars on Drugs, Wars on Terrorism to keep them from  noticing their pocketbooks and jobs were going away.  Convincing them  the reason was undocumented workers, non-Christian religious fanatics, and the folks who couldn’t find jobs.

Maybe there’s just a growing realization within the population that it’s already been robbed of everything of value, that it allowed itself to be surrounded with cops, mercenaries, a huge prison system, sophisticated weaponry, and personal debt it can never repay.

And not a single name they could put on a bumper sticker who isn’t a part of what did it, will continue doing it.

Maybe they’re finally just saying, “To hell with it.  They can kill me, but they can’t eat me.”  At least not until someone discovers a way for politicians, bankers, multi-national chief executives, and dynastic wealthy to live longer by ‘donated’ body parts of the citizenry as a means of collecting personal debts or paying off national ones.

Old Jules

Let Big Daddy Fix It

Good morning readers.  I appreciate your visit and read.  I hope you won’t consider this frivolous.

It’s Daddy Day, and there’s a growing body of shrill opinion being expressed on the Web concerning those out-of-control nuclear reactors in Japan and how Big Daddy United States needs to step up to the plate to fix it.  Even though Big Daddy has no more clue than anyone else how to go about doing it.

First off, those reactors haven’t reached their full potential yet, so it’s probably too soon to have the Lincoln Memorial try to jump a motorcycle across them. 

Even though PT Barnham’s loose in Washington and trying to perfect that method of solving historical difficulties, jumping a motorcycle across the problem is still considered extreme, untested, uncertain, at best.

Probably it would be better to try time-tested methods first.  Some of the ways Big Daddy US has solved other pesky difficulties.  Homeland Security and attempts to deal with illegal immigration might provide a model.

Or failing that, there’s always the old airbag fix:

Anyone strangled to death by an airbag isn’t going to be worrying about mutants, teeth falling out, that sort of thing.

Sending some crews of jailbirds out to pick the fallout up before it can do any damage offers some hope.  Got lots of jailbirds and not-all-that-much radiation yet.  If the radiation increases, hell it won’t do it faster than our number of prisons.

People who never learned to program a VCR, [including me] might find radiation detection instruments confusing, so sniffer dogs trained to detect it could answer the question of where it is and where it ain’t.

Naturally they’d have to be provided facilities.

And protection from reckless drivers.

Failing that, a little magic might help.

Or just an acknowledgement there’s a problem.

If everything else fails, this worked for grandaddy and there’s no reason to think it won’t work again.

The Japanese have never been all that receptive to allowing imports from the US, but I’ll bet they’d welcome a few shiploads of those signs.  And there’s potential for a new manufacturing industry here to replace what went to Asia.

It ain’t as though there’s nothing to do in a fallout shelter.

Big Daddy’s tour d’force is entertainment.  Still is.  Never been better.

You can’t argue with a history of success.  I say, “Let’s go for it!”  What are we waiting for?

Old Jules

Dragging the Past Around Like a Cotton Sack

Until you forgives it, I reckons. 

The Coincidence Coordinators will rub our noses in the alternatives just for the hell of doing it.

I’d stopped into the Office Max store in Kerrville to pick up a cheap flash drive when I saw the little bastard.  He and what I figured must be a lady employ of his [now] were looking over the copying machines, taking notes, asking a clerk questions, frowning and muttering to one another.

I couldn’t believe what I was seeing, changed positions pretending to look at other merchandise on other counters to get a better view of him.  Shaking my head in disbelief.  He’d put on a bit of weight, hair’d gone gray, but it was Tony.  The very man I used to swear to myself if I ever caught him out somewhere I’d whip his ass until it thundered.

And here he was in Kerrville, Texas.

Shortly after I came into Grants, New Mexico, after I gave myself a Y2K, discovered I couldn’t find a job paying higher than minimum wage, I went to work for Tony.  He was managing the Rodeway Inn, needed a graveyard shift clerk.  I hired on.

During the interview he drifted to personal conversation.  “What kind of music do you like?”

“Old stuff, mostly.  Rock and Roll, pre-1980s CW.  Bluegrass.  Opera, classical.  I’ve got promiscuous tastes in music.”

“Any kind of music you especially don’t like?”

“Yeah.  I never cared for disco, and what passes for country music now drives me nuts.”

I had no idea.

After I’d trained for a week with one of the day shift clerks the place was all mine from 11:00 pm until 7:00 am.  The radio/stereo was locked in the office behind me, but I didn’t have access to it.  Tony’s apartment was back there, too, but the speakers to the radio were in the lobby.

11:00 pm every night I’d report to work, 11:10 pm every night, just so’s I’d know it was deliberate, the volume would go up almost so’s I couldn’t hear anything else allowing me to check in customers.  Modern all night country music station out of Albuquerque.

When they came down to check out early or to grab some breakfast the customers would often get nasty about it, ask me to turn down the racket.  All I could do was shrug.

I got this far writing the draft before I thought of the ‘Bypass Surgery’ post and song.  Thought it might tell some other tales about working in that motel, and about Tony.  But it turns out it might as well be this post played 78 rpm.

Spark and Tinder for the Next Country Music Wave

I suppose I ought to begin all over and tell you some other tales about old Tony, maybe sometime I will.  Because there are a lot of them, and many were codified in letters I wrote to Jeanne while I was working those long nights.  She’s pestered me plenty of times to post some of them here, though some weren’t about Tony. 

Good stories, though.  The night clerk at the other motel Tony managed across the street giving $25 bjs to the customers and Tony’s reaction when it got back to him.  How he got to banging the woman-prisoners from the State Women Prison who worked daytimes cleaning up, and how pissed he was when he discovered they were also screwing the customers.

How he’d rent the ‘suite’ room out a week at a time to the local crystal meth dealer, then spend his time up there rolling #100 bills, the motel register showing the room as vacant and closed for repairs.

But I ain’t going to waste my time telling you all that.  I’m just going to forgive old Tony for being among the lowest scum tyrants I’ve ever met this lifetime, then do my best to forget that entire episode of my life.

Actually, now I think about it, there are a couple that don’t involve Tony I might get around to telling.

Old Jules

Giving the Devil His Due

Good morning readers.  Thanks for coming by for a read.

Before I leave Dennis Tolliver in the dust of history I’m going to share a couple of other anecdotes with you to round out your understanding of the sort of man was, might still be if he’s alive.

During the years I lived in Socorro I’d frequently stop in at Mel’s furniture store for coffee.  Often we’d stroll around the corner to Tolliver’s used car lot for the novelty.  Mel King

Mel and Dennis were close friends and both were trapped in self-images including a strong measure of outlaw-billybadass.  Nothing much was said about it, but it hovered in the background as scenery too solid not to be real.

One day we were huddled in the car lot office when a Navajo from the Alamo Rez came in with a small caliber pistol he offered as a down payment on a truck.  Dennis noted it was loaded with a round in the chamber, examined it and scowled.

Dennis:  This pissant thing?  What the hell do you think I’d want with it? 

He handed it back to the guy.

Navajo:  It’s a good pistol.

Dennis:  Good pistol my ASS.  Shoot me with this damned thing! 

He stood up and threw his arms out to make a better target.

Dennis:  Shoot me anywhere you want to with it!  If I have to go to the hospital I’ll give you the damned truck free!

The guy looked at the pistol, looked at Dennis, seemed to be considering it.  Then he just shook his head, stuffed the pistol under his belt and left.

Dennis:  Bastard was trying to set me up.  If I’d taken that pistol from him I’d have had cops all over this place.  A convicted felon in possession of a firearm!  If that bastard was real he’d have shot me and tried for the free truck.

I was more closely acquainted with a guy who’d grown up with Dennis, who enlisted in the army with him, served with him in Vietnam.  A man who had no use at all for Dennis Tolliver.  One day he explained his reason.

Several years before Dennis did his armed robbery trick in Grants the two of them found themselves in possession of some dynamite and blasting caps.  They were drunk, and went out on the Interstate blowing up traffic barrels, abandoned automobiles, whatever presented itself.

Eventually a police car came over the horizon behind them, lights and siren providing the drama.  Dennis floorboarded the truck, but the cop was on the tailgate in no time.

Dennis:  Light that stick of dynamite and throw it out on him.

The cap was taped around the dynamite stick with electrical tape.  The guy telling me the story said he lit it and tried to throw it out, but it slipped and rolled under the seat of the truck, him fumbling around under there for it.

Dennis, calmly:  You really need to get that out of here or that cop’s going to have us.

Finally the guy found it, tossed it out the window soon enough so’s it exploded outside the truck, blew out all the windows and the truck rolled into the ditch.  Dennis came out unscathed, but my bud got all his hair burned off, ended up in the hospital, then jail. 

Pissed him off royally, because he was charged and convicted for the whole mess, while Dennis walked.  Dennis even testified against him.

Worthless bastard!” was all he had to say about Dennis.

Old Jules

Giving God More Marching Orders

It was flags and God Bless America signs I noticed mostly in Kerrville last trip in.  Had me wondering whether something was going on I’d missed. 

Here’s a country where they’re still planting grass in the suburban yards so they can mow it at $3.50+ per gallon for the mowers, giant television sets, shiny new doolies, SUVs, RVs and golf courses demanding more blessings because the ones already provided don’t fill the cup.

But maybe I’m reading it wrong.  Maybe God Bless America’s a parenthetical statement:

(Help me God, because the onliest people I’ve got to choose from are all going to provide me with more undeclared wars, ship more jobs overseas, bail out more banks, automobile companies, allow my savings to be ravaged, and treat my Social Security as though it were welfare beggings.)

I dunno.  Seems to me this nation’s enjoyed considerable blessings for the duration of the lives of everyone living in it.  Even those living on the streets, on the Reservations, just about everywhere, compared to a great majority of the less-deserving who didn’t manage to get born here.

If there’s a diety out there looking for advice maybe a “Thankee!” would get a better hearing than, “Gimme more!”

Maybe it’s time to belly up to the bar and recognize that life’s a tough place to live and sometimes people have to live it without giant television sets and new SUVs.  Judging by the people the US public have selected to look out for their interests it would take a diety a lot more forgiving than the one a majority of believers believe in to heap more blessings on those demanding them.

Thowing good money after bad isn’t one of the traits attributed to the usual diety.

Old Jules

Divine Intervention – A Blossom Fell

Good morning readers.  Thanks for coming by for a read this morning.

I was relaxing in a camp chair just before dusk yesterday when the Coincidence C0ordinators gave me a nudge to remind me my priorities are too much anchored in the chicken, cabin, drainage issues recent past.  The bachelor roosters were loose for their afternoon free range and my attention was directed to making certain neither of them sneaked off to bloody TGSB.

KERWHUMP!

Suddenly a few feet away I had an oak tree poking into my affairs.  The chickens were going crazy running every direction, guinea-mania drowning out the chicken-panic, me just trying to fathom what I was seeing.

Turned out one of the remaining trunks of the oak that fell on the roof of the storage building a while back decided to put the squeeze on the Bachelor Rooster Containment Center.

Spang blocked off the chute between the pen and the night fortress, raising all manner of questions about protected places to house the roosters for the night.

But more importantly, forced the awareness that this cabin, all the storage buildings, even the main chicken pen, surrounded by dying oaks waiting to fall on something important.

Nobody got crushed in this one.  The cats were well away, even I was far enough out of reach so only a few leaves and a bit of dust got to me.  But I’ve got lots of trees and not-all-that-many cats.

I pondered it all last night for a considerable while.  If that tree had come down on me there’d have been a lot of hungry, thirsty chickens and felines lying around with Xs over their eyes before anyone got around to wondering how long it had been since they’d seen me and why.

And the fact is, even though I’m a fair-hand at the one-man-band act, I can’t figure any way in hell to bring a lot of these potential crushers down in a way that doesn’t include them falling on the cabin roof.

So I did a lot of weighing and juggling what I ought to be thinking and doing.  Concluded I first need to scout around for a home for the chickens.  The lady who runs the Habitat For Humanity Thrift Store has a lot of free rangers, along with some goats and two dogs to protect them all.

I reckons I’ll be talking to her next time I’m in town to find out whether she might give them a home.

Meanwhile, maybe put up a tent out in the meadow for summer sleeping until I can feel some confidence the tin roof won’t be sleeping beside me if I snooze indoors.

When I left New Mexico a lot of the reason I felt pressured to do it was the fact of a roof arguing in favor of collapse and an 18 inch adobe wall looking for an excuse to fall.  If Gale hadn’t offered the use of this cabin I’d have had to find a lot less wholesome place than this before the snow flew.

Back to square one, thinks I.

Old Jules